Category Archives: Dogs

Did You Know? January 8, 2019 edition

If you live in a region where the temperatures get below freezing, your fire hydrants are more important than ever. We recently received this video about the importance of hydrant maintenance in the winter months. “Gaskill” hydrants were originally installed in Denver in the 1890’s and incorporated a dry barrel draining system to prevent water from freezing inside the pipes connecting to the hydrant.

Now days, water companies uses propane burners when storms are forecast as part of their regular maintenance in cold climates. Most of the 21,000 fire hydrants installed throughout the Denver metro area are yellow and installed along the sidewalk easements. Newer versions of the Gaskill hydrants feature an underground valve to shut off the flow of water in case of a collision by some vehicle. The value shuts the water off and keeps water in the supply pipe, preventing water from spraying in the air a la Hollywood style. I personally hate the idea of water waste in this high mountain desert region and hope storm sewers are able to re-cycle and treat this flushed water and get it back into the non-potable system for watering city parks.

Hydrants are flushed out at dead ends, cup-de-sacs and pressure zone boundaries to ensure water moves regularly throughout the system. By flushing Gaskill hydrants, it allows the water company to collect samples and maintain water quality throughout the distribution system.

Upright and fire fighters are grateful the hydrants are maintained, especially at this time of year. Seems like dogs are grateful for hydrants, too. Even the Ninja.

A little privacy, please.

Have you ever wondered how your fire hydrants worked? Now you have a better idea, at least if your water company uses the Gaskill hydrants.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Creating a New Year

Realizing a detox was probably necessary after my holiday fudge transfusion, I came to the conclusion I should probably detox my addled brain too. Along with my best intentions, I found myself diving down the online rabbit-hole a bit too much. When you finally come to your senses, look around and discover you just lost 3 hours when you only consciously meant to look up X  and wonder why the heck you’re now reading Y which was totally unrelated, you probably need to do a reassessment. Or have an intervention. Has this ever happened to you? What’s that old saying…the road to hell is paved with the best of intentions? Well, I reckon to change that now in 2019.

It seemed clear I needed to spend more time visiting the library than falling down the rabbit-hole, fun as that may be. Enter an old-fashioned concept…reading a book. I have a complicated history with reading. While I do enjoy it, taking 87 years to get my degree years ago (but by golly I did it and graduated Phi Beta Kappa eligible), reading for pleasure was a luxury I didn’t have, nor a habit that was very well-developed. Making ends meet while raising a couple of kids in a new urban location, working full-time and going to school at night, didn’t exactly lend itself to reading for pleasure. There was always too much required reading for classes or kids to parent or grocery shopping or cooking, cleaning…well you get the idea. It’s always easy putting things off, isn’t it?

Several months ago I entered a couple of blog contests and actually won a couple of amazing books related to my passion-pet rescue. One book struck a special chord with me. Mind you, I wasn’t actually the winner, but the author, Diane Rose-Solomon was touched enough by my entry describing Elsa’s rescue story that she generously sent a signed copy of her book nonetheless. A hectic summer turned into a busy fall, and then the winter holidays hit which brings me here. Excuses and apologies.

Although I finished the book back in November while in Mexico, I’m just now writing a long overdue review for which I sincerely apologize to Diane. This book is easy to read, provides loads of tips with resources and the chapters can be easily read in any order. Add to the fact Diane has a rescue named Ninja…well imagine how that touched me.

Organized into five modules, Diane shares personal experience from the heart and provides oodles of resources. You know…real life stuff. Have an issue with a particular aspect of rescuing a dog? You can easily find it covered in one of the modules. While I’ve rescued more than one shelter dog, Elsa’s story was complicated because she spent years in a puppy mill cage. Diane’s book gave me insight I hadn’t encountered with diverse resources that has helped with her socialization. A quick and gentle read, once I earnestly dug into it I was irritated at how easily I let myself get distracted with other things before finishing this pawsome book.

Even if you’re a seasoned dog owner, this book will provide you with expert advice from rescue specialists, veterinarians, dog parents, and pet business owners with links to the most relevant articles from pet professionals, making this book a one-stop shop for dog-related questions, before, during, and after adoption. I can’t urge you enough to have this excellent resource on your own bookshelf. Many, many thanks to Diane for being patient with me. It is most appreciated. And make sure you stop by her website to check out all the great things with which she’s involved. You’ll be glad you did.

Happy reading! I look forward to sharing more reviews of pet related books and articles throughout 2019. Now where did I put that library card?

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ December 31, 2018

Every New Year’s Eve mom gathers us to have ‘the talk’ where she goes over, for the umpteenth time, “rules for poodles.” Elsa here. “Like we’ve heard it all before, mom.” Besides, we know “poodles rule” anyway. This year I decided to beat her to the punch before she starts whining waxing on about her stupid rules.

🦴 Yes, mom, we know it’s called a walk. In Doglish we think that means a ‘sniff’ and a leisurely one at that when the temperatures are extra cold. Chilled  leaves and grass smell much different, trust us.

🦴 Of course we know that minding our leash manners is impawtant for everyone’s safety and that it’s not necessary to dash after every cat or squirrel we encounter. Don’t blame us…explain the rules to the cats and squirrels. We know exactly what to do. Can we help it if they don’t want to ‘chat’ with us?

🦴 Walking exercises.  Sometimes the sidewalk ends and we have to walk out in the street so Sam and I think that’s the pawfect time to extend our leashes in opposite directions so you have to rein us in. It’s called upper arm strengthening exercises. Have you looked in the mirror lately and checked out that flab dripping off your triceps like a wet bag of mice? You’re welcome.

🦴 As for when you’re picking up our poop, we’ve got other things on our minds. And most often that involves walking behind you to get our bearings. you’re on your own. 💩  Besides, I always thought moms had eyes in the back of their heads to keep an eye out on us. Guess I got that wrong.

🦴 Follow the leader to us in Doglish means something more like that cool Fleetwood Mac song…Go Your Own Way. Oh sure, you’re barking ‘heel’ but you need to start thinking of Sam more like Lindsey Buckingham. They’re both weirdos.

🦴 Yes, we pestered you to take us for a walk and jumped around like pogo sticks till we left and then s-l-o-w-l-y meandered around on said walk like we could care less. It’s called a poodle agenda. Sheesh, don’t you ever read the editor meeting memos where we clearly spelled that out?

🦴 In the winter when sunlight on our early walks isn’t in plentiful supply, we are quite sure that shadow we saw IS too a serial killer, therefore barking is imperative for everyone’s safety. The neighbors need to get up and get to work anyway.

🦴 And while we’re on the topic of safety, I know for a fact that all Akitas will trigger insanity on my part. You can call it racial profiling if you like, but  blame the next door Akita, not me. He’s already proved that he would tear down the fence if he could. I know his crazy MO and will act accordingly whenever we encounter others of the same breed, irrespective if they’re nice or not. I gotta let all dogs know not to mess with this Chica. Us Ninjas have a reputation to uphold. Maybe you should think about carrying more treats in your pocket for distraction purposes. Just saying.

🦴 Nose nudging while you’re trying to paint. Hey, we’re just improving your lame artwork. Picasso probably had interns, so chill. If you painted with acrylics instead of those unforgiving watercolors, you could save yourself a lot of aggravation. Then again, if you petted us enough, we wouldn’t need to remind you.

There are probably other areas where we rule, but am sure when you least expect it, we’ll be sure to remind you so that you might eventually ‘get it,’ by pointing out who really rules around the Ranch. That’s called training, woman and you need lots of it.

We wish everyone a Happy New Year. Let us know when we’re gonna pop open the Dog Perignon, Sam and I will get the hors d’oeuvres ready for ringing in 2019 with some serious style.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Nature Friday ~ December 28, 2018

Nature Friday
Welcome to the last Friday of 2018. I have mixed feelings about this year but am always happy to join our fur-iends Rosy and her brothers from LLB in Our Backyard for this last Nature Friday blog hop of the year.

On a day where our temps will struggle to reach the 20’s, I thought we should go back to Mexico and warm up a bit.

Turtles are ubiquitous in Mexico and these little guys know how to enjoy the heat, sunning themselves on rocks but always close enough for a quick dip to cool off (or to escape from pesky tourists).

Turtles

While walking through the Old Town area on the way to a favorite gallery our family discovered, this noisy little guy was either greeting us or more likely, telling us in no uncertain terms to go away. The racket this little squirt made me nervous its owner might check to see if we were some sort of nefarious troublemakers. It never ceases to amaze me that the tiniest of dogs are the ones who raise the most cain, in the most aggressive way. I’m sure they have to wipe down the glass panels on the deck frequently as he gets frothed up with all passersby.

Tiny pups

Go. the. hell. away!

After scurrying past the 4-legged security alarm, I stumbled across this building that stood out against a cloud-dotted sky, a restaurant known as Café des Artistes.
Old Town

Check out this exquisite video I found on their website which is narrated by the founder and chef, Thierry Blouet.

Don’t know about you, but after seeing these images, I’m slightly warmer (and more determined to go back to this lovely place in nature!) and can now face the first of what will no doubt be frequent, but brief forays outside with the Knuckleheads. Stay warm this last Friday of the year and have a great weekend.

Live, love, bark!🐾

Therapy in Action-Mexican Style

Pirate coffee hutSince returning from Mexico I have been frequently thinking about the impact of pet therapy more than usual. While visiting south of the border, I witnessed first hand the absolute power of pet therapy on a spontaneous walk I took in the vicinity of our resort. My intention was to walk up the main roadway toward where the river flowed out into the bay. I knew from walking along the beach that near the confluence, a number of egret-like birds hung out. I was also told by a local person, crocodiles could also be found upstream. I planned on avoiding the later but hoped I could get some decent shots of the former.

Pirate coffee shopWhen it became clear no good shots of the birds could be had without climbing down a step river bank (umm, no thanks, no photo of a bird was worth a potential encounter with a croc sighting, thank you very much). Instead, serendipity arrived in the form of a little coffee stand in the shape of…a pirate ship. ‘Argh,’ I groaned but quickly realized this little hut and companion playground held potential for a few photo opportunities. The proprietor greeted me (that’s him waving in the first photo) and we exchanged limited greetings, he only spoke Spanish and beyond ‘Hola,’ I could only smile. But I wandered around hoping to catch some locals taking a break when I saw a small boy playing in the playground area, but realized there was something special about this little boy. The boy was chasing and being chased by a small puppy who constantly dashed after this blur of a child, and the two rambunctious dervishes chased and played with each other with pure abandon. After several minutes of watching the scene, a thin slip of a young woman with a beautiful smile waved and came over to chat. She was the boy’s mother and we began a long chat about the two bundles of energy. The puppy was a Pit/Lab mix, about 4-months old which she had obtained for her 4-year old autistic son. She had gotten the dog in hopes of giving her son a companion that he might be aided by the fur companion. She related how owning this little ball of energy had made a significant difference with her son. When I revealed Sam was a therapy dog, she began asking me a jillion questions about training the new addition while repeatedly re-directing the pair away from the busy road.

Mexican therapy dog

A brief  moment of stillness

I barely was able to catch the pair still enough to capture any photos (never did get one of the boy who was either blurry or where he looked away), but in the shot above, the little ‘therapist’ was catching his breath for a few seconds before resuming the chase with his human friend. Watching the two of them and talking with the mom, it really struck me, how often dogs manage to understand their role with their humans. They instinctively seem to know what we need and provide it willingly. The mom, a transplant from Alberta Canada, mentioned that day was to be the last one with the little dog officially. The landlord said no pets and was adamant about the rule. So like mom’s everywhere, she found a solution to comply without moving by paying a nearby neighbor a few dollars a month to care for the dog at night and bring him back to play with her son during the day. I can only hope this solution works well for them, the little boy was clearly attached to his pal and the little pooch was thrilled to have his ‘2-legged puppy’ companion with whom he could romp and play during the day.

I thought about that family when Sam went to West Pines last week. We visited with a number of folks who for a brief few minutes, came out of their shells to twirl their fingers around the soft fur of a loving Knucklehead. One woman in particular sat down and had Sam sit in front of her crossed legs. Her face lit up and her soft voice shared her story about adopting a pair of Potcake dogs (you can read about the breed here) and how much she missed them. I could tell this tender-hearted woman needed a few minutes with Sam and he was more than willing to let her gaze into his eyes and stroke his ears. A fellow resident who was far chattier and extroverted then took his turn with Sam who accommodated him with a totally different energy. I couldn’t help but think of the little Pit/Lab mixed puppy a 1000 miles away chasing the pant legs of a little boy while romping together and then smiling. It was then while I typed this post that I realized Sam had his head pressed against my thigh. Without consciously thinking I reached down and twirled the fur on his ears and he leaned in and then looked up at me. Yes, therapy dogs are the same no matter where they are and I couldn’t be more pleased about that fact.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ December 3, 2018

Eep…is it really December?!?! It just doesn’t seem possible, does it? If you were out holiday shopping this weekend, you just might a bit like this. Then again, if you’re like me, you probably feel that way whenever you’re out and about. *Sigh*

Here’s wishing you a great week.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Almost Wordless Wednesday ~ October 24, 2018

Sam & ER nurses

Sam drew a bit of a crowd yesterday in the ER Dept. Two more doctors and another nurse joined the group right after this photo was taken. Dang, if only he liked people, although this might actually qualify as a harem in some books.

Happy mid-week. We’re back at West Pines today hopefully bringing more happiness.

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Monday Musings ~ October 15, 2018

Hey sports fan…it’s me, Sam. Did you know this is National Veterinary Technician Week? First celebrated in 1993, the third week of October each year honors the heroes in animal care — vet techs. Yes it’s true that I act kind terrified a little scared whenever a tech takes my temperature (but, um…excuse me…how’d you feel if I jammed a cold tube up your…well you know). But you gotta admit, I still wag my tail every time you come into the exam room.

Truth is, I have a personal interest in hoping all Vet Techs have a good week. Mom’s granddaughter in Hawaii is a vet tech and works at a pet hospital in Kona. Like all techs, our Hailey does all kinds of work including taking pertinent background info before the vet comes in and talks with the client about their pet. She handles all the basic questions, cleans kennels, restrains animals, draws blood and gives certain injections and vaccines as permitted by statute. She helps take X-rays and ultrasounds and monitors sedation procedures. She also runs blood work after a draw.  

A vet tech’s duties often encompasses far more work depending on the vet for whom they work. It’s probably easier to list the things they can’t do. Vet techs are not permitted to diagnose, perform surgery or prescribe medication.

Veterinary technicians typically work with vets in private practices, hospitals, research labs, and zoos. These days they are an important part of the professional veterinary team, but that hasn’t always been the case. The first “animal technician” program was created back in the 1960s, before then, veterinarians hired students or office workers to do much of the basic work and routine tasks. As the field of animal health became more complex, a need arose for a well-educated staff that could take on greater responsibilities and duties developed.

Even my weirdo Ninja sister loves our Hailey girl. This week we salute you and all vet techs and applaud the terrific job you perform. Have a great week, dear Hailey. We love and miss you and are so proud of all you’ve accomplished.

Miss Hailey with the Ninja

Live, love, bark! 🐾

Flower Friday ~ October 5, 2018

Today’s entry in the Flower Friday blog hop hosted by Rosy and the Boyz is this beauty. I think it’s some kind of wood rose. I walk past this church frequently and they have several of them in a flower bed next to the main building and then earlier this week I noticed my favorite neighbor has a few of them planted next to his side walkway. Talk about being an especially welcomed spot of color in the autumnal palette!5dHldRv5TeevPPdDSz8ujA-e1538692380567.jpg

Hope you have a wonderful weekend and can get out and enjoy all the beauty Mother Nature is serving up these days.

2018_flowerfriday

Live, love, bark! 🐾

 

Monday Musings ~ October 1, 2018

Is it really October?!  Indeed it is and with the turn of the calendar, I discovered it’s also National Black Dog Day. We’ve all heard of “Black Dog Syndrome,” a phenomenon where black dogs are often passed over for adoption in favor of lighter-colored pets. Black dogs have a higher likelihood of being  killed in shelters regardless of their breed, are far harder to photograph and it’s often impossible to read their facial features. Help break stereotypes and spread the truth by using social media to spread the word about adopting a black dog.

It was two years ago that I added my own ‘black dog’ to the Ranch pack and while there are days when I shake my head at some of the Ninja-like shenanigans she pulls, I couldn’t be happier with that decision. Here are ten reasons why you should consider adopting a black dog.

1. Black dogs are just as loyal and loving as any other colored dog.
2. Black dogs are mysterious. Too often we think black dogs are less friendly and their features often get lost in shadows on online profiles.
3. They are easier to clean. Ok, I just made that up. But at least you can see where you need to clean from the black hair that shows up on surfaces.
4. Protection. Black dogs are often thought of as menacing because of their coloring.
5. Black dogs are always ready for formal events. Slap a bow tie on and they’re ready to boogie on down. Remember, black dogs aren’t mean or evil, they are merely sophisticated…and should be thought of more like the James Bond of canines.
6. They look pawsome in snowy scenes on Instagram. Talk about a contrast! Now if only snow will arrive in the desert otherwise known as Denver.
7.  Truth be told, they will look great in pretty much every photo. I probably have more photos of the dogs than anything else on my phone and look for different ways to stage them on our adventures.
8.  They are a built-in heater. Cold? A black dog is the ‘pawfect’ snuggler to keep you nice and toasty on a winter’s night. Did I mention it’s October already…colder temps are just around the corner.
9. Be a trendsetter. One of the reasons some experts believe Black Dog Syndrome exists is because of their “generic” look. Especially in these superficial times, people want distinctive looking pups. But if everyone had a perfectly coiffed Pomeranian, life could be kind of boring (with no offense or malice toward Poms, mind you).
Finally…
10. You want one…now. There are so many loving, wonderful pups with black coats just waiting for their fur-ever home in shelters. There’s hardly any waiting period nor is it hard when doing an online search for available dogs, since black dogs are often the last ones to get adopted.

I’m sure Sam would be quite happy being an only kid again but trust me, always having his back, has its own rewards. For him and me.

So the next time you’re considering adopting a pet, why not take a look at one of those loveable, loyal black pups? So Happy National Black Dog Day. I hope you find your own special Ninja.

Live, love, bark! 🐾